Tag Archives: bless

In Which I Attend an Ordination

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 6, 2016

harvest candles.jpg

In Which I Attend an Ordination

A moving, soul-stirring service this afternoon! That’s what I attended.

Let me back up. My church is in the process of rejoining a denomination. I met Megan several months ago, and she is lovely. Not only as part-time associate pastor, but also as chaplain (her primary ministry). Today, she was finally ordained into ministry of Word and Sacrament, becoming the Reverend Megan Dalby-Jones.

Her journey of ministry—and toward ordination—took a number of years. Yet, it now has been affirmed and validated. And, praise God! Megan has joined the number of ordained clergy.

This reminded me of an article I read several days ago, on social media. I follow a few Evangelical websites, and I noticed a headline on of the sites that intrigued me. Accordingly, I opened the post and found a good article with several pointers about pastors. MALE pastors. Exclusively. (Forgive me, guys. But, I respectfully disagree.)

I am sorry. I have been in ministry for over ten years, most of that in chaplaincy. I have had colleagues from any number of faith traditions and expressions. Not only in various parts of Christianity, but also from other faith traditions. I felt nothing but support from them. I enjoyed collegial fellowship, but more importantly, I felt supported as I was chaplain at the hospital. I knew my fellow chaplains had my back, and I had theirs.

It did not matter whether the chaplains were men or women. Or, what faith tradition they came from. We all supported, encouraged and were there for each other—because there were some tough times. As well as good times. Nevertheless, there was collegiality, for sure.

That is what Megan was ordained into, today. Not only chaplaincy, at a wonderful hospital. But, collegiality among other ministers, who do a tough job. And, a good job. Sometimes, a difficult job. But also, a God-filled job. A God-honoring job, too.

Dear God, bless Megan. Not only today, but every day. Bless her in her work at the hospital, as well as her work and worship at her local church. Watch over her and her loved ones. And, grant her abundant support, encouragement, caring, and love from friends, family, colleagues and congregation. Dear God, in Your mercy, bless Megan today.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er


PEACE: Inner, Positive Quality

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 6, 2016

peace, stylized

PEACE: Inner, Positive Quality

This post includes a second definition of PEACE. But, before we get to that, I need to give a little background. Several people from Morton Grove traveled down to Chicago on Wednesday to participate in a dinner outreach called Give Them a Meal. Run by Mothers Against Senseless Killing (MASK), this is a tremendous opportunity to give back what God shows to us: love and grace.

While there on the south side of Chicago, I asked one of the Mothers Against Senseless Killing for her personal definition of PEACE. Everloyce’s personal definition: “PEACE is an inner quality that is expressed in positive ways on the outside.”

Absolutely marvelous, I told Everloyce. Since she has obviously given the matter much thought, I asked her to elaborate on that explanation. She said, “PEACE is something that you feel intuitively. My mother said, ‘Still water runs deep, but it’s hell at the bottom.’ In other words, you can look at the calmest person, but it’s all turmoil inside.

“Unbelievable. You think, just like on the outside, everything is calm. But on the inside, it is pain, rage, sadness. The full range of emotions.” As I checked further, I ran into people who were so emotionally invested in this question, and it is powerful. Thank you, Everloyce.

Let’s pray. Gracious God, we pray for the catechism that is coming to those young people. For freedom of expression and passage. Dear Lord, we pray for the Mothers Against Senseless Killing. Bless their outreaches, including Give Them a Meal. Give all those in the Englewood area Your peace, Your peace that passes human understanding. And, bring about a lasting peace that is expressed in positive ways, dear God.  In Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

God, Use Weakness. God, Use Me!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, July 28, 2015

God's opportunity to show His strength. Psalm

God, Use Weakness. God, Use Me!

God uses the oddest things. Like weakness. God plans on making sure that weakness is prominently represented in every aspect on God’s work in the world. Today. Now.

The month of July is winding down, but we still get to view several great chapters in this book, Praying the New Testament as Psalms. Like this one, for example. The two authors adapted this book from the books of the Bible, and we have several excellent topics to cover before we leave the end of July.

As I consider today’s chapter, I feel so moved by this modern psalm: “Help me to accept my limitations./You choose what is weak to shame the strong.” [1] Wow. Let me say that again. WOW.

Personally, I feel pretty small and very weak. See? God uses me—uses you—and the attributes God wants to convey. I know I am an imperfect person. Still, God uses all of the imperfections in each one of us to get God’s message across. Despite fancy electronics or high tech photos, still, God’s message goes out.

God, bless all those who are struggling to get the message across. It’s Your message. Wherever, Even whenever.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind. @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 200.

Day #29 – Bless My Boss? Pray for Him, Too!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 21, 2015

THANK God every time I remember you

Day #29 – Bless My Boss? Pray for Him, Too!

Ever have a wonderful boss? I have! Several, in fact. (Then, too, I’ve had several who were not particularly wonderful. But I am not going to even think about them, today.)

Today’s suggestion from #40acts is to be a blessing to your bosses. Or, church leaders, or authority figures. So many people act or speak in a negative way, even about their bosses or supervisors, or leaders. Why not speak positively? Compliment them? Give them “a heavy dose of blessing” right back. (As Ewen McAlpine mentions in today’s 40acts blog post.)

I have two bosses in mind today. Neither of them is my boss any longer. However, while I was under their supervision, I considered myself fortunate to have them in authority over me.

The first is the Rev. Dr. Frank Baldwin, Director of Chaplaincy at the Presbyterian Homes. Frank was awesome! He retired from his long-time position as Director of Chaplaincy for all the sites in the Pres Homes network late last year.  I consider myself blessed to have had him as a supervisor some years ago while I spent a year at the Pres Homes as a chaplain intern.

Frank is kind, intuitive, clear-headed, marvelous at administration, and caring and insightful as a chaplain and pastor. He has such a head for details, and for names! One of the best at remembering facts about people—and their loved ones—that I have ever seen. He is a careful communicator, insightful and patient with me as an intern, and encouraging to me when I had questions and could have done better. When I grow up, I want to be like Frank!

The second boss is Rev. Gordon Smith. I worked with Gordon at two locations. In any situation where I saw him operate, Gordon made use of his superb communication abilities. His interpersonal and preaching skills are phenomenal!

While at our first site together, Gordon showed how competent and innovative he could be. He has spent most of the past ten years in interim church work in the Chicago area, serving as interim pastor until the churches could call a permanent pastor. He is wonderful at this specialized work. And—at supervising his co-workers. Always collegial, encouraging, affirming, and positive, he also is wonderful at painting a vision of where churches and congregations would like to go, and how they might best get there. A wonderful interim minister! And an awesome colleague, as well.

Thank you, thank you, to both Frank and Gordon. You helped me to do my job more fully, more richly than I ever thought I could. I always wanted to do my very best for you, in these positions. I pray for you both, and your families. May God richly bless you, and give you enjoyable and interesting things to do in the future. God’s peace be yours in abundance, too!


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Penitence - Larry Poncho Brown

Penitence – Larry Poncho Brown

Remember, Ashes to Ashes

Rush, rush. Hurry, hurry. I’ve been doing so much already, it seems like a day-and-a-half has been packed into just a few short hours. Yes, most of what I’ve been doing today is quite necessary. But what does God want from me today? I really ought to slow down and check in with God. See what I need to do to help my spiritual self stay right with my Higher Power.

Today marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of preparation before Easter. Today is also Ash Wednesday, a day of holy penitence, confession and absolution. I take the Lenten observance of the cross of ashes on the forehead as a serious, penitential act. But I find I’m not acting like it today. Sure, I’m doing necessary stuff, busy stuff. But I need to slow down. Do some inward reflection on my habitual thoughts, words and deeds. And most importantly, I am advised to do some inward reflection on the state of my soul.

First, before I can even confess my sins of thought, word and deed, and then even ask for God’s forgiveness (much less accept it into my heart and mind), I need to slow down enough to focus on spiritual things. I need to attend to things of God, and not to be distracted by the world. Or even by needful, necessary things that take my eyes off where they need to be. God, help me focus on You, on your forgiveness, grace and mercy.

As I turn to inward reflection, meditation and prayer, I also reflect upon Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. After all, He is the reason that I am here, in prayer. His words to us—to me—to come to Him with our—my heavy burdens. It is Jesus who gives rest to the weary, the sinful, the world-worn. To those burdened with care, with worry, with anger, with unforgiveness, with resentment. God invites me to release all those negative, worrisome mental states and attitudes. God blesses me with the forgiveness of those sinful thoughts, words and deeds of commission (what I’ve done) as well as omission (those I have neglected to do).

Instead of merely writing about confession, forgiveness and pardon, all intellectual-like, let’s actually do it. Let’s pray.

Dear God, We confess to You that we have sinned. Each of us has stubbornly turned to our own way, like those sheep Isaiah talks about. Forgive me, God. Wash me clean, make me white as snow, dear God. Have mercy on me—on us, in Your loving-kindness. Thank You for the Good News of the Gospel, and for the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in Your grace and mercy, hear our prayers.